We are appealing to the public to help us continue to support those who need us.
Impact of Covid-19:
Like most charities, our fundraising activities have been significantly impacted by Covid-19, at a time when the need for our services is greater than ever. In March, we experienced a 390% increase in crisis calls to our Information Line and since the pandemic began more than 1,200 people have reached out for support. However, contact has now dropped compared to the peak leading to concerns that people are not accessing the support they need. We continue to promote our services to ensure that everyone in Oxfordshire has somewhere to turn to if they’re struggling with their mental health.
In an Office for National Statistics (ONS) study in April 2020, 48% of the British population reported that their mental health had been affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Experts predict social distancing restrictions will have a long-lasting impact on mental health, especially anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The University of Sheffield and Ulster University’s Covid-19 Psychological Research Consortium have advised this will be compounded by bereavement and economic pressures.
Dan Knowles, CEO of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “Covid-19 has dramatically highlighted the need for services like ours. The pandemic is changing all of our lives and placing huge amounts of stress on our mental health. For those already living with mental health difficulties, the self-isolation and social distancing measures put in place, as well as fears about the virus itself, are adding to the pressures of the current situation. Thus, there will be both short and long-term impacts on our mental health.”
How we have adapted:
We have adapted our services to ensure that anyone who needs us can still get support. There are some face-to-face services available; the Banbury and Oxford Safe Havens are continuing support for people in crisis with reduced 1:1 support and increased phone support.
We have found new ways to support people who need us. We have increased the number of phone lines for our Information Service and expanded our opening hours by 2.5 hours per week. The Information Line team will also undergo continued training to ensure they can respond to people suffering from trauma, bereavement, and anxiety.
We have also found new ways to reach people using our Housing Service during the lockdown, including providing some residents with pre-paid mobile phones so they can check on their wellbeing regularly.
Our Benefits Advice service is still fully operational, supporting clients over the telephone and over Zoom, to help people with mental health difficulties claim the benefits they are entitled to.
In March 2020, there was a 117% increase in calls to the service (compared with the usual average). Many of the other services, such as the Oxfordshire Hubs and Physical Activity and Wellbeing projects, have replaced face-to-face support with wellbeing phone calls, online peer support groups and other online content.
A separate new NHS emergency mental health helpline for Oxfordshire and Berkshire for people who need help with mental health problems has been set up. Many members of staff from Oxfordshire Mind are supporting with this.
How you can help:
Our charity is designed to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. Traditionally, we actively fundraise locally to ensure we can meet demand for the services in Oxfordshire. But with the cancellation in fundraising events, we have launched an appeal for people to donate.
Dan Knowles, CEO of Oxfordshire Mind, said: “Our fundraising has been reduced significantly due to cancelled events and activities over the last few months. We are reaching out for help. If you can, please support us to ensure that our life-changing, and lifesaving, work can continue.”
You can donate by clicking the button above or by texting MIND 10 to 70470 to donate £10.
To access information on how to maintain your personal wellbeing during COVID-19 click here.
If you require additional advice or support contact the Oxfordshire Mind Information Service by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 01865 247788.